Cleveland Browns fans are, understandably, unhappy with their team at this point. Two straight seasons without the playoffs, giving up a ton of resources for QB Deshaun Watson and, so far, the only change being bringing in Jim Schwartz are reasons for concern.
The Browns obviously have talented players littered all over their roster but talent isn’t enough in the NFL. Significant weak links on the defensive line and the struggles to integrate Watson on offense lead to questions heading into 2023.
Cleveland seems to be pinning their hopes on improvement on defense the Schwartz’s arrival while we will have to wait a while to find out what changes are made in personnel. Even so, in a wide-ranging piece (subscriber, $), ESPN surveyed people around the league and the Browns, along with the Detroit Lions, were named as teams to watch:
Lions, Browns break through
The Browns are still equipped with a top-shelf offensive line/running game and can bolster the lineup with wide receiver or defensive line help. The defense should be better under new coordinator Jim Schwartz.
The article also notes a few things that may be of interest to Cleveland fans including the idea that a player like DT Aaron Donald could be traded this offseason and a prediction where WR DeAndre Hopkins could land (hint: not Cleveland).
Choosing the Browns to breakthrough shouldn’t be seen as some kind of leap of faith but it feels that way. Until Cleveland proves they can win on a consistent basis, doubting them makes the most sense. That is especially true when you look at the talent all over the AFC right now.